William Jackson III more confident going into second year with Commanders

Bryan Manning
Commanders Wire

It was a pleasant surprise when the Washington Commanders inked cornerback William Jackson III to a three-year deal in free agency in March 2021. Washington needed cornerback depth, but no one believed the team would be in play for arguably the top free-agent corner available.

Primarily known as a man corner during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jackson was asked to play more zone during his first season in Washington. It was clear there was an adjustment period for Jackson.

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Washington’s secondary struggled throughout the early part of last season, Jackson included. A significant reason for the struggles was a lack of communication, which appears to have improved in the early days of camp thus far.

Jul 28, 2022; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Commanders cornerback William Jackson III (3) walks to the field during day two of training camp at The Park in Ashburn. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

"It’s 1,000% better because everybody knows everybody," Jackson told local reporters. "Sometimes I can look at Bobby [McCain] and know exactly what he’s thinking."

In his first game with Washington last season, Jackson picked off Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert. However, he struggled over the next several weeks as he adjusted to what defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and DBs coach Chris Harris asked of him.

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Throughout the second part of last season, Jackson looked like a different player as he became more comfortable with the defense.

How does he feel heading into his second year with the Commanders?

"I’m just having, and it’s showing on the field," Jackson said. "I’m not thinking as much; I know exactly what I’m doing now. I’m just having fun, and it’s showing."

Jackson said he started to feel comfortable in Washington’s Week 10 win over the Buccaneers last season and that this season, he felt completely different in OTAs and now training camp.

When healthy and comfortable, Jackson is a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback. If he stays healthy in 2022 and the Commanders’ pass rush improves as expected, Washington’s defense should again be a team strength.